A fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal: Does physical appearance of a defendant influence juridical judgement?
2885 Words12 Pages
From the findings, it can be concluded that the results do support the hypothesis that mock jurors place a harsher sentence on the unattractive defendant in the manslaughter case. Whereas, it was not seen as significant on the unattractive defendant in the theft case, this finding is counterintuitive to the hypothesis however, one can speculate that being attractive may be more beneficial to those that are on trial for a serious crime. The implications here could be down to the serious consequences to the defendant’s life if they found guilty for manslaughter, when in actual fact it may not be entirely their fault. Whereas, with the theft case there was no doubt in the jurors mind that that individual was responsible for the…show more content…
This is clear evidence that some people do believe there is a criminal face and that they use stereotypes to decide upon this. From one person’s answer in the study where they placed one of the longest sentences on the unattractive defendant in the manslaughter case, they said:
“I think there are numerous stereotypes of what a ‘criminal face’ looks like. I think this is a criminal face as his eyes are hidden and he has a ‘creepy’ grin making him look suspicious.”
This participant is showing the influence stereotypes had over their judgement of the crime and the defendant. They show that they do believe in stereotypes and that this man falls into that category which further predisposed them to placing a harsher sentence. Therefore, Baldwin and McConville (1979) did have a valid point and that juries do easily fall victim to stereotypes and how can they not when it is human nature? For humans it is very difficult to hold unconditional positive regard (Rodgers, 1957) for someone who they do not know and are up in court for such crimes, once their first impressions are made, it is subsequently harder to change this and so, if they are unattractive or unclean then they will almost certainly have their own perception of this ‘type’ of person, and might not necessarily be favourable. For instance, in the case of Amanda Knox, although she was not deemed as unattractive, rather she was seen as attractive there was a presumption of